Gerty Theresa Radnitz Cori (1896-1957)

Gerty Theresa Radnitz Cori (1896-1957)

Gerty Theresa Radnitz CoriGerty Theresa Radnitz Cori

Nobel Prize laureate biochemist

American biochemist of Czech origin, Gerty Theresa Radnitz Corimet met her future husband and collaborator Carl Ferdinand Cori at the German University of Prague. They graduated in medicine in 1920, and after getting married the very same year, they moved and started to work in the United States. The couple had one son.

The Coris while workingThe Coris while working

In 1931, they both transferred to the Washington University Medical School. Conducting research on the breakdown and synthesis of glycogen stored in the liver and the muscles, they identified the important catalyzing compound of glucose, the so-called "Cori ester", as a primary product of the glycogen breakdown process. They established the general function of the compound in the carbohydrate metabolism. This laid the foundation for understanding how sugar glucose is metabolized by hormones in animals.

Glycogen: a compound of glucose and phosphateGlycogen: a compound of glucose and phosphate

In 1943, they purified the enzyme catalyzing the glycogen-Cori ester transformation, which helped them produce synthesized glycogen rather soon. The evidence of this transformation enabled them to describe a theoretical biochemical cycle called the "Cori cycle". The Coris shared the 1947 Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery of the course of the catalytic conversion of glycogen.


Most glucose molecules are stored as glycogene molecules in the liver and the musclesMost glucose molecules are stored as glycogene molecules in the liver and the muscles

Having struggled for years with poor health, Theresa finally died of kidney failure in 1959. Her husband went on with their scientific work on the enzymes and the mechanism by which glycogen is broken down into lactic acid.